Hawks win OUA gold

KINGSTON, Ont. — On Saturday afternoon, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s soccer team proved that revenge is indeed sweet as they topped the Queen’s Gaels 1-0 to claim the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) title.

Last season, the Gaels upset the Hawks in the OUA semifinal, abruptly ending their season short of nationals. However, this time around it was the Hawks’ turn to pull off an upset as they took down the number-one nationally ranked Gaels to win their second provincial championship in three years.

“We watched [Queen’s] succeed in their division all year, and we knew we would probably be seeing them in the finals,” said Ali McKee, the game’s lone goal-scorer. “It feels a million times better to beat them this time around.”

After trading chances throughout the first half and most of the second, the teams took a 0-0 tie into the game’s last 15 minutes. And after dominating possession for most of the match McKee would head an Alyssa Lagonia corner into the top of the Gaels’ net to give the Hawks the lead.

“Every corner I try and get it on [McKee’s] head,” said Lagonia. “I know she can compete with the ‘keeper in the box and we’ve got a pretty good percentage going, last game she had one and now this game.”

Laurier would hold off the Gaels for the remainder of the game and come away with their seventh OUA title in team history.

For Lagonia, this will be the first time she’ll get to share a championship with her Hawks teammates. Despite being part of the team since 2007, the Kitchener native has missed each of the past two post-seasons — including Laurier’s 2008 provincial championship win — due to her duties with Canada’s national team.

“I said before the game to all the girls, ‘I want one too,'” laughed Lagonia. “To be here celebrating with these girls is just so amazing because they mean so much to me, it’s really a great feeling.”

In addition to the OUA championship, this season has also yielded personal accolades for a number of Hawks. Defenders Sadie Anderson and Kelsey Tikka were both named to the OUA west division’s second all-star team, with Tikka also taking home divisional rookie of the year honours.

Meanwhile, McKee and Lagonia both made the OUA west first all-star team being joined by midfielders Heather Malizia and Tania Pedron. Pedron, who likely had the most personal success this season — winning OUA west MVP and OUA finals MVP — remains humble amidst all her accolades.

“Honestly, it’s the girls I play with,” she said. “I wouldn’t be recognized for any awards if it wasn’t for this great group of girls.”

The Hawks now advance to this weekend’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) finals as the number-one seed from the OUA.

“The provincial championship feels great, but we’re not going to lose focus on our goal, which is winning the national championship,” said head coach Barry MacLean. “I’d say we’re pretty confident going into nationals…. Queen’s was the number-one team in the country and to beat them is a great accomplishment.”

The national championship kicks off this Thursday in Charlottetown, P.E.I., hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island.

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